Did you know the foods you are consuming can directly impact your mental health? In America alone, one in five people is affected by mental health conditions1. If you’re struggling with symptoms, it’s important to find professional support, but research has shown that you can also improve your mental health by changing your diet.
Years ago, I shifted to a plant based, whole foods diet after learning about the effects processed foods can have on mental health. At the time I was suffering from anxiety and depression, and research was showing a link between processed foods and depression2. I decided to take the natural (and simple!) approach to improve my quality of life by altering my diet, and the results were life-changing.
Most people are initially intrigued by juice cleansing because of the physical benefits both beginning and advanced juicers rave about. As someone who is always looking for new elements to incorporate into my self-care plan, I became interested after reading that cleansing can also promote emotional wellness.
During my recent three day cleanse I dedicated the unstructured hours of my days (usually spent looking for the freshest organic produce and creating new vegan recipes) to evaluate my emotional wellness and make some improvements.
If you’re hoping to squeeze more benefits out of your next cleanse, here are a few helpful guidelines.
Regardless of your reasons for starting a juice cleanse, let go of your expectations and be open to the changes that are going to take place. The night before I started my cleanse, I participated in a group meditation to help set the tone for the following 72 hours. If meditation isn’t your thing, don’t worry. Everyone has their own method to get into a good headspace (hiking, journaling, taking a bath). Just set aside some time for you.
In today’s fast paced world, it’s easy to operate on auto-pilot and lose ourselves in our routines. During your cleanse, pay close attention to how your body feels and—don’t forget this part—honor it.
For years, I was convinced I only needed six hours of sleep. The first time I cleansed, I allowed myself to sleep as much as my body told me to, which resulted in nine hours of sleep a night. I was shocked at how clear-headed and energized I felt, and all it took was pausing to get in tune with myself.
If you already feel present in your body, plan some activities during your cleanse that make you feel the most YOU. If you have no idea what that is for you, think about what you liked doing when you were young.
Use this time to initiate other positive changes moving forward. Consider what things you want to start incorporating to keep you feeling good or what emotional toxins you would like to remove. Maybe you want to eat more real foods, try a new workout, or read one book a week. Maybe it’s time to re-evaluate a relationship, make a career change, or take a social media break. Spend some time during your cleanse making a plan for increasing the good vibes in your life.
As you absorb the nutritional benefits of your next cleanse, I hope you’ll also take an active approach to improving your emotional wellness. If you do, I would love to hear about it! Stop by the Far West store and share your story with me.
- NAMI (2018). Mental Health Month. https://www.nami.org/mentalhealthmonth.
- Jacka FN, Kremer PJ, Berk M, de Silva-Sanigorski AM, Moodie M, Leslie ER, et al. A prospective study of diet quality and mental health in adolescents. PLoS One (2011) 6(9):e24805. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0024805
Melinda Nelson is a Health Coach Program Manager at Daily Juice Cafe. She is passionate about real food and authentic living. You can visit Melinda at our Far West location and follow her journey at RootedWarrior.com or on Instagram @rootedwarrior.